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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Arrogance of Anger

I think it's safe to say that perhaps the bible verse that is most undisputable is Romans 3:23. None of us can argue the statement that we have all sinned and fallen short of God's standard. With that in mind, I am of the mindset that it takes a special kind of arrogance for any of us to be angry with and hold a grudge against another person.

As I say that, I'm sure there are those who would read this thinking that their anger against someone else is somehow more justifiable than the rest of us. Again, I believe that is arrogance.

Who am I to be angry at someone for something they did to me? Who am I to hold a grudge? Should my anger cause or motivate me to harm them back? Do I have that right? Am I that much better than them that I can sentence them to some punishment because I believe they have sinned against me? Just what will satisfy my anger? Am I sitting on some kind of self-made throne before which they should bow in reverence and ask my forgiveness before I'll give it? What if, even if I think they wronged me, maybe I did or said something I shouldn't have? What if I simply misunderstood what was said or done and was too quick to judge?

The fact that we even draw breath on this day is a testimony to God's untiring and unrelenting love and forgiveness for us. I have given Him every reason to be angry with me, and even to punish me. I grew up in a Catholic family who loved to say things like, "God's going to punish you for that." While they may or may not have been kidding, I literally grew up thinking God was some kind of deified hall monitor waiting to nail me for every little infraction I made.

In fact, while God can't be fooled and is aware of all my deeds, good and bad, He is neither impressed by the good, or angry at the bad. My personality isn't perfect, and there are times that my instinctive thoughts and behaviors are not perfect. But He is very aware that while I don't always do things right, I am committed to being known as a man after God's own heart.

My bible is loaded with men and women who have failed. Even the heroes in God's hall of fame all made some kind of colossal mistakes in their lives. I borrowed David's epitaph, not because I deserve it, but because it's simply the standard by which we all should live. I'm simply thankful that the things I do which don't measure up don't doom me to the fate I truly deserve.

If God, the absolute measure of perfection, can forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness, who am I to be angry at another fallible person for something they said or did which bothered me? There are some out there who seem to go out of their way to hurt us and make life miserable. I absolutely don't understand this. Thank God that is a foreign way of thinking to my mind. But they are prisoners to their own insecurities and arrogance. The battle is not mine. It is not for me to inflict my wrath upon them. That battle is God's.

If you're reading this and you find yourself either on the receiving end, or on the giving side of the wrath ledger, I encourage you to forgive the other person(s). One simple answer which remedies both scenarios. You cannot control the actions and thoughts of others, but when you forgive them, you're free from the ultimate and most damaging consequences.

Let it go, and move on. This life is too short and too precious to hold grudges and ruin or lose relationships over them.

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